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date: 13 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes some of the ways in which social science knowledge about sexual orientation and sexual stigma has been applied to social justice issues through federal and state courts. The chapter draws examples from the author’s experiences as an expert witness in cases such as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the landmark 2010 federal case that ultimately overturned Proposition 8, California’s voter-enacted constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The chapter also provides some general background information on what being an expert witness in cases such as Perry entails. Suggestions are offered for social scientists who wish to communicate empirical research findings to the courts, legislators, and policymakers.

Keywords: social science and law, expert testimony, equal protection, sexual orientation, sexual stigma, sexual prejudice, lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights, marriage equality, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, Proposition 8

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